What Magnets Can Teach You About Forgiveness
By Matthew Joyce
Have you ever tried to push opposing magnets together? The harder you try to force them the more they resist. Yet when you flip one of them around, they’ll click together of their own accord with virtually no effort on your part.
Magnets can teach you a lot about the power of forgiveness.
The reason magnets are easy or difficult to bring together has to do with the direction of the flow of energy in their magnetic fields. Energy flows out of the north pole of a magnet and into the south pole.
So when you hold two north poles together their natural individual flows of energy are opposing one another and pushing each other away. When you hold a north pole and south pole magnet together, the energy flows out of the north pole of one and into the south pole of the other and they merge together creating a single even larger circuit of flowing energy.
It’s the same thing with the power of forgiveness.
When two magnets of similar polarity are placed end to end their outward energy flows oppose one another (top row of image). When one those magnets is reversed, the energy flows join together to form a larger unified field (bottom row of image).
The Impulse for Repulsion
When someone or something hurts or offends you, your first instinctive action is to push them away. This is a natural protective action, and it applies to everything from rotten food that you turn your face away from; to hot objects that you drop quickly; to painful life experiences; and most especially to the people who cause those painful life experiences.
The action of separating yourself from the source of pain is a positive one when it comes to protecting yourself. But what works for temporary protection doesn’t work for forgiveness and long-term healing.
That’s because, while protection is a matter of separation, forgiveness is a matter of returning to wholeness, or of uniting that which has been separated.
So what does this have to do with magnets?
You Are a Human Magnet
Well, you have a personal energy field much like a magnet. Some people call it an aura. Others call it a resonant energy balloon (REBAL). Scientists call it the bioelectric field that surrounds your body.
Like a magnet, your energy field has a polarity. In the simplest sense you can think of it as flowing out of your head (the north pole) and wrapping around your body before returning via your feet (the south pole). While the flow of energy is continuous and requires no particular effort on your part, it also responds to your thoughts and emotions.
Setting Up Opposing Polarities
Every time you think about the person or the pain they caused, you reactivate your desire to keep that pain away from you. This sets up a repelling action in your energy field. The trouble is that after the initial event is over there is nothing in your physical environment left to repel. So instead you seek to repel the memory of the pain.
In effect you set up your memory of the event as something separate from yourself and something that has the opposite polarity as you.
When you resist a painful memory you set up an opposing polarity within your energy field. The more you resist, the greater your emotional pain. When you forgive someone, you eliminate your resistance and all the energy again flows in a unified direction.
This becomes problematic because memory exists in your mind not in the physical world. And you can’t repel a memory the same way you can a physical object. No matter where you go, the memory still exists and it will continue to cause you pain as long you direct your flow of thought and energy into opposing it and keeping it away.
Like those two opposing magnets that you are trying to force together, the harder you push against your painful memory the more resistance you’ll feel from it. Although repulsion may feel natural to protect yourself, it is ultimately a futile effort that drains your energy. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the way to end your pain is to reverse the flow of energy regarding that perceived insult or injury.
How to Reverse Polarities
When you reverse the polarity of the painful memory in your mind, it merges back into your personal energy field like two magnets that have been joined together to form a single larger field.
So how do you reverse the flow?
You eliminate your sense of separation from the other person and from the pain they caused, and you return to a sense of unity.
You can do that by several different methods.
In an ideal world the person will offer you a sincere apology. Such an entreaty is a invitation from the offending party to reverse the flow. In effect, they are saying, “Here, I’ll reverse my magnetic flow so we can get back into synchronization.” If you accept their apology and forgive them, then your two magnets click back into alignment.
More often though, you may receive a perfunctory apology or no apology at all, particularly for events that occurred in the past or for events during which the other person was either unaware of the pain they caused you or unwilling to take that responsibility.
The good news is that when it comes to forgiveness you don’t need the other person at all because the tension you feel isn’t being caused by them. It’s being caused by your thoughts and feelings around the insult or injury. And those are completely within your control.
So to resolve the situation on your own, you forgive them in absentia.
Of course, that may be easier said than done, particularly if you feel a grievance for a recent event or for an event or pattern of behaviors that has caused lasting negative impacts on your life.
Nonetheless, the process of forgiveness is the same. The way to reverse the flow is to claim the entire painful event as your own.
Forgiveness for One
You can do this through some mental role playing in which you play both parts in your mind. In this case, you’d first adopt the role of the other person and say, “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Then you shift roles and say, “I accept your apology. I forgive you.”
The strength of this method lies in its simplicity. Just make the minimum statements necessary. Don’t offer explanations or excuses on behalf of the other party, and don’t start an internal dialog filled with a litany of reasons why you were hurt. Simply apologize and accept the apology. Then forgive the other person.
This role playing method works well for people with a strong sense of empathy, but the drawback of the method is that many people still end up thinking of the other person and their cause of injury as being separate from themselves. If this is the case with you, then you may still have not forgiven them and you won’t have returned to a feeling of unity.
To bring yourself closer to wholeness the next step is to apologize to and forgive yourself as if both parts of the altercation were your own. In this case, you’d say “I’m sorry I hurt myself. I forgive myself.” It sounds weird, but taking the other person out of the equation can significantly reduce your sense of separation. Plus it actually makes sense, since the pain you feel after the initial event is over is actually caused by your own thoughts and emotions or by the story you continued to tell yourself about the event and the pain.
To speed the healing process even further you can also add in the phrase “I love you,” if you’re thinking of the other person, or “I love myself,” if you are striving for unity.
Of course, saying phrases in your mind is only an action that you are taking. Ultimately what you are striving for is the feeling of unity itself.
Forgiveness Clicks Into Place
When you actually release the painful event with full forgiveness, your resistance to it disappears and the flow of energy returns to harmonious alignment. Funny as it sounds, you can actually feel this happen. It feels a lot like two magnets pulling themselves together. When you actually forgive someone, if you are paying attention, you can feel an initial pull toward them. The flow of energy between you feels unified and your sense of painful, opposing separateness shifts into one of comfortable unity.
Forgiveness is a profound and powerful healing tool. Try it for yourself.
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